Lakewood Outdoor Basketball Committee

Nickie Antonio Encourages More Hoop Locations in Lakewood

State Representative, Nickie J. Antonio, sent the following letter to Mayor Summers in support of reopening the Kauffman Park Hoops and creating additional basketball court locations throughout the city of Lakewood.  We're thrilled that our government officials feel so passionately about the importance of providing free and healthy activities to our youth.

Letter to Mayor Summers Basketball Hoops - Nickie Antonio

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March for Hoops 2014


Thanks to active followers and supporters like you, the City of Lakewood has recognized how important free, healthy, and public activities are to its residents.  Our first set of hoops returned to the city in 2010 at Kauffman Park and has since been a huge success.  Please feel free to join us in the parade this year.  Bring a basketball and march with us to remind the city how much we appreciate our hoops and that we want more!  Email with any questions.

Meeting Date: July 4th
Meeting Time: 9-9:30am
Meeting Location: Near 17420 Edgewater Dr, Lakewood, OH 44107

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Kauffman Park Friends Unanimously Choose Hoops

After taking a vote at a recent meeting, it is the unanimous consensus of Kauffman Park Friends to see the return of basketball to the currently closed courts.Kauffman Park Friends

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County Executive FitzGerald Calls Outdoor Basketball “Common Sense”

Former Lakewood Mayor and current Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald called the return of outdoor basketball to Lakewood "common sense" in a recent interview with Munch Bishop on ESPN radio.

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City Council Members Urge Mayor to Reopen Kauffman Courts

letter of support from Ward 2 Councilman Sam O'Leary and At Large Councilwoman Cindy Marx was sent to Mayor Summers urging him to reopen the Kauffman Park courts.

It is important that Lakewood’s youth can walk or bike to basketball hoops or courts, and that there is more than one location in the city at which residents can play basketball.


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Buy a Brick

Can't buy a bucket? ...Buy a brick! By doing so, you'll help the LOBC build two more hoops in the heart of Lakewood at Lakewood Park. This installation of high quality hoops on a freshly paved playing surface will be surrounded by a walkway built with bricks containing the names and/or messages of supporters like you. More than just memorialising all of our advocates and their great commitment to our cause, the hoops themselves will serve as a memorial to a great Lakewood resident that will never be forgotten - Mark Vincent Dickens (a.k.a. MVD).

About Mark Dickens

Mark was born in Lakewood and graduated from Lakewood High School in 1996.  Like most of us, he grew up playing basketball in Lakewood Park for countless hours after school and throughout the summer.  Just as they affected many other kids growing up in Lakewood, the courts were a large part of Mark's upbringing.  Many of his long-lasting friendships and bonds were formed there.  In 2009, after a two year battle with testicular cancer, Mark passed away one month short of his 30th birthday. Mark and his family would be honored to have him remebered in such a relevant way.

How to Buy a Brick?

All you need to do is download the form below, fill it out, and mail it and a check to:

Art Gold
C/O LOBC Bricks
1098 Forest Cliff Dr.
Lakewood, Ohio 44107

MVD Brick For

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City Approves Construction at Lakewood Park

The Mayor and almost every member of City Council has officially endorsed our joint plans with The Friends of MVD for construction of two brand new hoops at Lakewood Park! To help this become a reality and to solidify your support, buy a personalized brick that will be installed as part of a pathway surrounding the hoops.

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Council Meeting Prefaces Meeting with Mayor

At a previous City Council meeting there were a few complaints about noise and swearing going on at the courts that resulted in reduced weekend hours of operation at the Kauffman Park hoops.  With only a quick Facebook notice and email just a day before June 20th’s City Council meeting, more than 100 residents in favor of public outdoor basketball showed up at City Hall to demonstrate their support.  A majority of these activists were teenagers or younger.  They sat through an hour-long City Council meeting patiently waiting for their chance to communicate the importance of basketball in our community.  The event proved to be a great learning experience for them all, and we couldn't be any more grateful for their support!!

The supporters well represented the LOBC’s methods of returning hoops to the city of Lakewood –respectful and disciplined.  Though one of the councilmen explained that the City Council does not possess the power to bring basketball back to Lakewood, the results of the previous City Council meeting told us otherwise.  With such short notice, it really showed the city how easy it is to find support for free outdoor basketball.

This was a great preface to our meeting with the Mayor scheduled for July 6th.  There, we will be asking for a commitment for more hoop locations throughout the city.  We could never do this without your support!  THANK YOU!

You can read more about the City Council meeting at:

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March with us in the 4th of July Parade

Why watch a parade when you can march in one?  All fans of the Lakewood Outdoor Basketball Committee are welcome to join us in this year's 4th of July parade!  Last year we had a great turnout, but this year, we'd like to double it.  Let's show the entire city how many supporters we have!  Just meet us at Kenneth Dr. and Lake Rd. @ 9:30am.



Closed on Saturdays

The Lakewood Outdoor Basketball Committee (LOBC), along with Mayor Michael P. Summers, have decided to close the Kauffman Park basketball court on Saturdays. “Due to the high volume of court users we decided it would be best to give one day off for neighborhood relief” states Art Gold, the group’s co-founder. The group will also reduce hours on Sundays with an opening time of 1:30. “If the city had additional locations, there would not be as much pressure on this neighborhood park; this is something we advised the city in our February meeting.”

The court is well used by neighborhood kids. Many of the adolescents playing at Kauffman Park attend Grant Elementary and Harding Middle School. Although Kauffman was not the first choice of location for LOBC, due to its proximity to residents, the group states the location has been a huge success. “Kauffman was intended to be set up as a third or fourth location. For neighborhood adolescents, the court has been very useful,” says Gold. LOBC will soon mount a public relations campaign, which focuses on adding two more court locations for 2012. “The kids are the only ones hurt by not having access to neighborhood parks. We know the mayor will see our vision through.”

Mayor Michael P. Summers agrees—a balance between residential units and parks must exist:

"It is very important Lakewood continues to do all it can as a community to promote healthy activities and wellness. Getting kids off the couch and into our parks with physical activity is important. As a very, very densely populated city, utilizing and resolving conflicts over our limited amount of shared space is a big part of the Lakewood culture. We will continue to work hard to reconcile the needs of our residential community and the needs of activity in our shared space."

In order to reduce noise at the current location, the city will soon put in a sound barrier, as well as, install cameras throughout the park. It is part of an ongoing effort to make Lakewood’s park system more secure.

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Nickie Antonio Supports the LOBC

We are extremely grateful to publish the letter of support below. Nickie Antonio (State Representative, House District 13) wrote the letter below to Lakewood's Mayor Michael Summers. We've posted the video she references on our homepage.

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Courtside Meeting

Thank you to all that attended our Courtside Meeting!  The success and the future progress of this movement is in the hands of the children.  So far, they have been demonstrating what a positive and healthy influence these two hoops at Kauffman have been to their daily schedules.  The hoops are proving to be a low maintenance asset to the city's limited list of free outdoor physical activities.  This event was also a great opportunity for our community's youth to connect with our city leaders including:

  • Mayor, Michael Summers
  • Ward2 Councilman, Tom Bullock
  • School Board President, Matthew Markling
  • School Board Member, Ed Favre
  • Ward 2 Police Officer, Angie Ortiz
  • LHS Varsity Basketball Coach, Phil Argento
  • Owner of the Lakewood Observer, Jim O'Bryan
Courtside Meeting
Mayor Summers dropping knowledge, recommendations, and inspiration to Lakewood's youth.
Mayor Summers dropping knowledge, recommendations, and inspiration to Lakewood's youth.
Nadhal Eadeh (LOBC) welcoming Mayor Michael Summers' support and guidance.
Nadhal Eadeh (LOBC) welcoming Mayor Michael Summers' support and guidance.

So far, the Kauffman Park Hoops Pilot Program has been a huge success, but we still want hear how we can improve our services from the neighborhood.  This will be an open forum to discuss your feedback about public basketball hoops in Lakewood, OH.  We will also be announcing our plans for this summer that include more programs such as fun events and 3 on 3 tournaments.  Please feel free to bring your thoughts, suggestions, a basketball, your friends, and anything else you can think of.

This Courtside Meeting will take place April 13th, 6:00pm, at the Kauffman Park hoops.  See you there!

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Final Four Classic

What a success!?  Thank you to all of our supporters!!  Let us know if you have some photos, and we'll get them uploaded...

LOBC Final Four Classic


We're hosting our very first annual FUNdraiser April 2nd at 6pm.  Come watch the Final Four with us at Around the Corner!  You can securely order tickets below using Paypal/Credit Card, or just email us at and let us know you'll be sending us a check made out to:

The Lakewood Foundation
Memo: LOBC Event
16024 Madison Ave.
Lakewood, OH 44107

$20 per adult and $10 per student/child will earn you all you can eat pizza, wings, and a chance to win plenty of prizes.  You can also RSVP to our Facebook event.  Hope to see you there!!

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Letter to Mayor Summers

Check out our letter to Lakewood's new mayor...

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Vote for Hoop Locations

Now that we've already got hoops at Kauffman Park, where else would you like to see hoops installed in Lakewood, OH?

Choose your top 4 sites in Lakewood to install some new hoops.

  • Lakewood Park (79%, 22 Votes)
  • Madison Park (54%, 15 Votes)
  • Harding School (32%, 9 Votes)
  • High School (North Lot) (32%, 9 Votes)
  • Wagar (Rosewood) Park (32%, 9 Votes)
  • Webb Park (32%, 9 Votes)
  • Roosevelt School (25%, 7 Votes)
  • Horace Mann School (18%, 5 Votes)
  • Hayes School (11%, 3 Votes)
  • Cove Park (11%, 3 Votes)
  • Metro Parks (7%, 2 Votes)
  • Lincoln School (7%, 2 Votes)
  • Garfield School (7%, 2 Votes)
  • Taft School (4%, 1 Votes)
  • Franklin School (4%, 1 Votes)
  • Merl Bunts Park (4%, 1 Votes)
  • Emerson School (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 28

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Holler for Hoops at Kauffman!

Check out the official letter below that was sent to the residents near Kauffman Park. Write an email to expressing your support and gratitude for the city's cooperation!

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Photos of our Marchers

lobc 4th of july

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New Simplified Flyer

We've made a revision to our flyer.  If you want a stack to pass out on your own or if you're affiliated with a business that would be willing to set a stack of these up in its building, please let us know, and we'll hook you up.  Thank you!

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Letter from Kucinich

Our main man, Dennis Kucinich, has endorsed our movement! Read his letter of support to Mayor Fitzgerald below...


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Lakewood Street Walk – Volunteers Needed!

If you haven't noticed the signs all across the city yet, Lakewood Alive and Live Well Lakewood are hosting a great summer event called Street Walk. Detroit Road is going to be closed off to car traffic from Arthur to Marlowe and filled with fun activities to do, exhibitions to watch, live music to listen to, and food to eat. It’s going to be a great time!

We'll be there helping to manage a couple of hoops that will be available to play on.? Make sure to stop by and check it out.

Also, as an effort to have fun AND spread awareness of our cause, we’re looking for some volunteers (actually 20 to be exact). ? We’re going to be printing out t-shirts with our logo on the front and a short message on the back and 1,000+ flyers.? All we’re asking for our volunteers to do is wear our t-shirt and pass out some flyers while having a good time at the event.

We think this would be a fun and effective way to reach out to the community. So, if you want to help spread the word (or even if you just want to do it for the awesome t-shirt), let us know by emailing



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Crain’s Cleveland Interview

Recently, Joel Hammond of Crain's Cleveland Business interviewed us on our quest to help return hoops to the city of Lakewood.? He just wrote his story and it's now published on their website @ Read the article, and if that's not enough, you can check out the entire interview below...

+ How long has this been in the works?


Since the hoops were first taken down, we have all had an individual urge to fight to bring them back.? However, our group did not formally organize until March 31st of this year.


+ You're obviously passionate about this; what drives that? Is this something you did when you were young?


I’m definitely passionate about this, and it’s definitely something I did when I was young.? Though it’s been torn down for over 5 years now, most Lakewood residents would know exactly what you were referring to if you mentioned “The Cage”.? Located at the corner of Woodward and Madison (on the edge of Harding School’s property), The Cage might not have been the most aesthetically appealing site in Lakewood, but it was definitely never underutilized.? Packed within the boundary of old rusty 12’ fences were three sets of basketball courts made of indestructible hoops and a beach of uneven cracked up asphalt.? It was a bit neglected, but it entertained hundreds of Lakewood hoopsters every (weather permitting) day.


Often, the three courts weren’t enough.? There were usually a couple teams of 5 waiting to play on the court of the next winning team.? Growing up, I and many others would play there for hours in between our summer jobs’ work schedules.? Because the teams were always random, you usually made a new friend every day.? It taught me how to cooperate with others besides just my closest friends.? It also gave some a perfect platform to develop their leadership skills.? It was as important of an element to my social development as it was to my physical fitness, and all we ever needed was a pair of high tops and a jug of water …someone else always brought the ball.


+ Do you know when the courts were originally removed? Were they all across the city? What prompted the removal?


There were courts spread all across Lakewood.? The Cage was the main site for somewhat organized competitive play, but there were also hoops installed at a majority of our parks and schools.? The locations were spread out so that a hoop was available to all of Lakewood’s youth regardless of what ward they lived in.? They were all removed in two phases.? The first was the remodeling of our public schools; the hoops were removed during the construction with the general understanding that they would eventually be relocated on the property or replaced.? The residents of Lakewood later found out that the hoops were never included in the final site plans to begin with.? The second phase was a more intentional response to a series of complaints at Madison Park.? The hoops were removed based on the premise that there’s a connection between basketball and violence.


Most of Cleveland’s public hoops were removed months before we removed our final hoop in the first half of 2007.? Because Clevelanders had nowhere else to play, they migrated to the next closest available hoops.? Madison Park was where they ended up.? It’s a problem whenever you have out-of-towners utilizing our public facilities and causing trouble.? It’s unfortunate for the residents who were able to peacefully utilize the courts for all of the previous years.? Eventually, a stabbing that occurred at Madison Park was the last straw for Mayor George.


Nevertheless, Cleveland’s hoops have since been reinstalled and we believe it’s a safe time with our very conscious plan to bring outdoor public basketball hoops back to the residents of Lakewood.


+ Overall goal? I see a map on your site, but it also seems like a revitalization of the sport on a broader basis also fits as a goal, right?


The map on our site does show our overall goal – the reinstallation of hoops across Lakewood.? An important part of our plan to recognize is the way we differentiate between “hoops” and “courts”.? To begin, it’s our goal to install “hoops” in areas that will have a limited surface area to play on.? This is a conscious effort to first make basketball available to those who need it the most – the youth.? Full sized “courts” will attract the youth, but they will also attract all other age groups and skill levels in mass amounts.? Hoops will only attract youth who want to shoot around or play a game of H-O-R-S-E, because that’s all there will be room for.? Hoops can be thought of as simple playground equipment, while courts will require a more detailed plan before they’re reintroduced to the city.? Simply explained, the playing surface for the hoop locations will be far too small to attract the large groups of people looking to start competitive games.? Therefore, it’s our belief that the city is ready for an immediate installation of hoops across the map.


A long term goal of ours is to also bring back full-sized courts that will be capable of hosting highly competitive games just like The Cage was able to do back in the day (only in a cleaner and even safer environment).


As far as revitalizing the sport of basketball goes…? I don’t think it’s necessary.? Basketball is a good old American sport.? We’ve been seeing more and more portable hoops set up in the middle of streets than ever before.? Lebron James alone has done as much for the popularity of the sport within our community as our little organization could ever dream of doing.


If anything, we’d like to think we’re revitalizing Lakewood’s commitment to free healthy social activities.? Lakewood is a very diverse community.? It’s the reason a lot of us choose to reside here.? But unless you’re into the bar scene, there’s definitely not an enormous amount of free community activities to jump into.? There have been some great organizations popping up recently to counteract that though, and we’re just trying to continue on with that trend.? There’s no reason Lakewood residents should be deprived of something as simple as basketball hoops.


+ Have you met with the city? Are those officials receptive to the idea? What are their concerns?


We have met with a majority of the city council, the parks director, police officers, the Recreation Dept., and others (meeting dates have been posted @ None of the people we’ve met with (besides a couple neighborhood police officers) have expressed any individual resistance, but all have explained, “we’re fighting an uphill battle.”? This is a battle we're fully aware we're fighting; this is why we deemed it necessary to form an organization.? Nevertheless, each individual we’ve met with that we’ve expected the most resistance from, has agreed that bringing hoops back to Lakewood would be a very positive thing for the residents.


Additionally, we’ve received full-fledged support from people like Lakewood High School’s coaching staff (including Varsity Coach, Phil Argento), LHS’s Athletic Director – Bob Thayer, and many other big names that will be released when the time is right.


Finally, the support from the people who count the most, the residents, is in the process of being documented on our website via our blog ( We plan to release our website ( to the public very soon through a flyer that will be published in Lakewood’s own Lakewood Observer.


+ Explain the plan, which takes into account some concerns you freely admit: Overcrowding, unruly behavior, etc.


Well, the plan for the hoops is as simple as what I mentioned earlier – just put them in.? The limited playing area will act as the only necessary security measure.

The implementation process of the full-sized courts is going to be a bit more in-depth.

Not only have we been taking thorough notes on the feedback we’ve received from the city officials that we’ve met with so far, but we’re also taking advice from neighboring communities who have safe and successful outdoor basketball courts.? We have not released a final proposal for the court implementation yet.? We are first waiting for a reaction from the mayor to our phase 1 hoops proposal.? We just sent our official letter to the mayor last night (


A sneak peek into our full-sized court plan would reveal things such as: fully fenced in courts with one entrance and one exit, hours of operation, resident-only access during certain hours of the day, ID cards, registered guest passes, a voluntary or minimum-pay court manager, security cameras, increased police patrols, etc…

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Letter to the Mayor

We've sent our letter to the Mayor, and you can read it below. Enclosed with the letter was the printer friendly version of our LOBC Purpose, Plan, and Progress document. The mayor will now be as well informed as you, and we hope he will be as supportive as well! We'll be posting his response and any meetings that follow, so stay tuned...


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LOBC Flyer

We've created a flyer to help spread the word about our committee and our cause. If you'd like to distribute these feel free to click on the image below and print some out. You can also reuqest as many as you'd like by emailing and specifying the quantity that you need. Let's spread these across Lakewood!


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Support the Cause!

Show your support by clicking "Register" in the lower right-hand corner of the screen and posting a comment on this post!? You need to provide a valid email address, but we promise to keep this private and not send you any spam.

Don't add a comment to this specific post if you do not support our cause.? We are using this post as a method of tracking how many supporters we have.

So, if you're down with the cause, post a comment!? Spread the word and get others to as well!!? The more comments we have on this post, the less resistance we'll have while pursuing our goal!!!


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Madison Park Summer Kickoff Picnic

On Saturday June 13th, The Friends of Madison Park will celebrate the start of summer in Lakewood with a Summer Kickoff Picnic from 11:30am-1:30pm at Madison Park.

The Lakewood Outdoor Basketball Committee will be hosting a basketball skills activity with two portable hoops we will be bringing in to use for the day. We also have free give away prizes courtesy of the Ranger Shop! LHS JV Basketball Coach, Alex Cammock, will be organizing these activities.

We are looking for supporters of our group to come and help share information about our group and its mission all that will be attending this event. We will have a table set up with copies of our proposal as well as a sign up sheet for those interested in supporting the LOBC.

Here are some specifics we need volunteers for:

  • The use of a pick up truck to transport to and from Madison Park, two portable basketball hoops.
  • Help with the set up and tear down of the hoops.
  • Come for an hour or two and help spread the word about LOBC and its mission.

Post a comment, email me,? or give me a call if you are interested in helping.

Check out the flyer for complete details on the Madison Park Summer Kickoff Picnic.

-Stephanie Toole


Progress to Date

2009-02-19: Met with Ward 4 Councilwoman Mary Louise Madigan.
2009-03-31: LOBC is created to promote the positive image of basketball in Lakewood.
2009-04-14: Met with Captain Ed Hassing.
2009-05-04: Discussed basketball options with Director of Public Works, Joe Beno.
2009-06-02: Met with Ward 2 police officer, Angie Ortiz, and Ward 2 Councilman Tom Bullock about installing hoops at Wagar Park.
2009-06-09: Met with Ward 4 police officer, Mike Fritsch, about installing hoops at Madison Park.
2009-06-19: Met with Ward 1 Councilman Kevin Butler.
2009-06-23: Met with At Large Councilwoman, Nickie Antonio.
2009-06-24: Spoke to Ward 3 Councilman Mike Summers via telephone.
2009-06-30: Spoke to At Large Councilman Brian Powers via telephone.
2009-07-06: Sent letter to the Mayor.

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